Lee Day , Front Office Manager at Novel Hotel City Center in Abu Dhabi talks about the strategies in place to sustain customer service excellence while ensuring maximum guest satisfaction. With over 12 years of hospitality experience with Danat Hotels and Resorts, Lee shares valuable insight on customer service practices for hotels.
Q: What does excellent Customer Service mean to you?
Lee: Excellent customer service means:
❏ Having thorough knowledge of the products and services on offer,
❏ Helping customers by meeting their expectations, and
❏ Maintaining a customer-focused approach while assisting guests during their stay.
Q.: What sets Novel by Danat Hotels & Resorts apart from other hotels in UAE?
Lee: Our People and our location- this is what sets Novel apart from other hotels in U.A.E. We have “the right kind of people” who are friendly, hardworking individuals with a genuine interest in providing a high level of hospitality. Not only is Novel the oldest standing hotel in the U.A.E., it is also centrally-located off of Hamdan Street. Guests have convenient access to Abu Dhabi’s vibrant social scene.
Q: Tell us about your customer journey: from the moment guests enter the hotel till they check-out. How do you ensure they have a great experience?
Lee: We always strive to create an unforgettable Novel experience – from the moment the guests step out of their car on their day of arrival until they check-out. The guests regularly receive a courtesy call to ensure optimum customer service for the duration of their stay.
Q: How do you measure guest experience and satisfaction levels? In your opinion, what is the best way to gather feedback from guests?
Lee: Customer satisfaction is difficult to measure as some guests aren’t very expressive when satisfied. Other guests don’t see the point in contacting a service provider to pass on their complaints or concerns. At Novel, we solicit guest surveys and collect online reviews from TripAdvisor as well as Google to get a clearer picture of guests’ feedback.
In my opinion, the best way to gather guest feedback is by giving them a courtesy call during their stay. Our focus is on attending to their needs and resolving their complaints in a timely manner.
Q: What are your customer complaint processes and how do you deal with unhappy guests?
Lee:We focus on resolving the problem and not making it someone else’s problem. We always treat complaints as an opportunity to grow and improve where the loopholes are in order to come up with alternative courses of action accordingly. We deal with unhappy guests by being empathetic, listening to their concerns and taking ownership of his/her complaints.
Q: What kind of customer service training programs do you provide to your hotel staff at Novel? And how frequently?
Lee: As a part of Danat Hotels and Resorts Group, we regularly conduct training programs covering product knowledge, customer service skills, and Khidma Mumtaza or guest service excellence. We also carry out one-on-one job training with a role-playing component.
Q: What are the key skills you focus on during these staff trainings?
Lee: We focus on skills such as Communication, Decision Making, Time Management, Adaptability, Leadership and Multitasking.
Q: What percentage of your bookings takes place over the phone, online and in-person?
Lee: The breakdown of Novel Hotel’s bookings is 35% via online travel agencies, 35% over the phone and 30% are walk-ins.
Q: How have you seen guests’ expectations change during your time at Novel? How do you keep up with these changing guests’ expectations?
Lee: We received overwhelmingly positive reviews, which distinguishes Novel Hotel from the old brand. We strive to maintain our guests’ approval by sustaining a high-level of service standards.
Lee Day is the Front Office Manager overseeing Front Office and Recreation Club focusing in driving products and excellence to ensure guest satisfaction. Prior to joining Novel Hotel City Center, Lee was the Guest Service Manager at Al Raha Beach Hotel.